JAMES G. HUNT
The ancestry of Dr. James G. Hunt, of Utica, belongs to the "Northampton line" and is traced backward through several generations to Rev. Robert Hunt and Jonathan Hunt, who emigrated to America from Northampton, England, in the year 1660, and settled in Connecticut. It is claimed by many of the family that there were four (some say three) brothers who came to this country together. Jonathan afterward settled in what is now Northampton, Mass., and Rev. Robert in the township of New London, Conn. Among their descendants was Timothy Hunt, who was a soldier in the war of the Revolution under General Abercrombie in an attack on Fort Ticonderoga, and who finally located in Tryon county (now Florida, Montgomery county), N. Y., where he died. During the Revolutionary period Timothy Hunt and his family were among the sufferers by the Tories and Indians under the leadership of William Butler and Joseph Brant, a Mohawk sachem. On the morning of November 12, 1778, after the Indians had accomplished the destruction of Cherry Valley and the surrounding country, they finally reached the settlement of Chucktenunde Creek in the town of Florida. Mr. Hunt's buildings were burned and most of his stock was killed, the remainder escaping to the forest, while himself and family were saved by concealing themselves in a neighboring ravine, closely filled with elders, willows, and thick underbrush. His wife, Susanna Vermilia, was of French descent, and of their ten children--five sons and five daughters--Isaac, who was born in Florida, Montgomery county, married Polly Kinney, of the same place. Rev. Robert Hunt, 2d, son of this Isaac and grandfather of Dr. James G., was born in that town November 25, 1792, being one of twelve children. He married Margaret Johnson, of Columbia, Herkimer county, N. Y., and began preaching in the Free Will Baptist denomination as soon as he reached manhood, first in Warren, Herkimer county, and afterward in Columbia, Schuyler Lake, Whitmantown and Southville. In 1852 he removed to Troy, O., and in 1853 to China, Wyoming county, N. Y., where he remained twelve years. His health failed and he subsequently made his home in Hudson, Mich. In 1871 he came to the home of his son, Dr. Isaac J. Hunt, of Utica, where he died December 7, 1872. Rev. Robert Hunt had ten children, five of whom were sons, and all of them became physicians. One of these, Dr. Isaac J. Hunt, father of Dr. James G., was born in Warren, Herkimer county, N. Y., March 27, 1820, and married Mary, daughter of John Ingersoll, a farmer and manufacturer of Ilion, Herkimer county, N. Y. He was graduated from the Castleton (Vt.) Medical College, became a successful physician, and practiced his profession for nearly thirty years in the city of Utica, where he died January 25, 1875. He had two sons: Dr. James G., the subject of this sketch, and Loton S., who was born in Utica in 1852, read law and was admitted to the bar, and was appointed by President Harrison United States consul to Guelph, Canada, whence he was subsequently transferred to Palmerston, Ontario, Canada, where he still resides and officiates in that capacity.
Dr. James G. Hunt was born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, N. Y., on the 21st of June, 1845. His boyhood experience was not materially different from that of a large majority of American youths, though he was fortunate in being able to devote nearly the whole of his early life to study. Beginning with the district school he continued until he was graduated from the Utica Free Academy at a comparatively early age. Shortly afterward he became assistant bookkeeper in the Ilion Bank at Ilion, N, Y., and remained there for a year or more, until 1866, when he accepted a desirable position in the Utica post-office. In 1867 he went to Buffalo as bookkeeper for Andrews & Whitney, with whom he remained one year. Returning to Utica in 1868 he began preparation in his father's office for the profession that was to be his life work. Indeed it may be said that he grew up surrounded by the atmosphere of the medical profession. After about four years of industrious study under the careful instruction of his father he entered the medical department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he took two courses of lectures and a course in the laboratory of analytical and applied chemistry. These were followed by a third course in the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, from which he was graduated on the 13th of March, 1871. At the time of his graduation one of the daily papers spoke of him as follows : "He received the largest number of diplomas for clinical instruction in medicine and surgery from the Quiz Association connected with Jefferson Medical College of any one in his class." During the same year (1871) he attended a course of clinical lectures in the Philadelphia Hospital (Blockley), and also a course of lectures in anatomy, operative surgery, bandaging, and fractures in the Philadelphia School of Anatomy.
Returning to Utica Dr. Hunt entered immediately into practice in association with his father. This partnership continued until 1874, since which time he has practiced alone, meeting with an unusual degree of success. In attempting to note the elements of this success it may, perhaps, be justly said that they consist chiefly of a thorough knowledge of his profession, gained by persistent and judicious study, supplemented by constant reading of the later developments that have been recorded throughout the range of medical literature, coupled with a temperament and manner which happily fit him for his work. His capacity for professional labor is almost unbounded, and he never spares his energies in his devotion to his duties.
Dr. Hunt's professional standing, as well as the position he occupies in the community, may be judged to a certain extent by the various calls that have been made upon him to stations of honor and responsibility. He is a member of the Delta Phi Society, Iota Chapter of the University of Michigan, 1869, and of the Jefferson Medical College Alumni Association, 1871; was made a member of the Oneida County Medical Society on October 7, 1872; is a member of the Utica Medical Library Association and was its president in 1886; was elected a member of the Oneida County Microscopical Society on June 19, 1881; is a member of the American Medical Association and the New York State Medical Association, and was chosen a member of the American Public Health Association on December 7, 1880; was appointed by Gov. A. B. Cornell as commissioner of the State Board of Health and served from 1880 to 1885; is physician to and one of the incorporators of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, organized February 7, 7881; is a life member and trustee of the Utica Mechanics Association; was appointed surgeon of the Board of United States Pension Examiners on March 30, 1889; was made a trustee of the Utica Female Academy on February 6, 1888, and still holds that position; and is a director of the Globe Woolen Mills. Dr. Hunt has also taken a deep interest in fraternal organizations and is prominent as a Mason, having taken the 32 degree, and is also a member of the Mystic Shrine, and an Odd Fellow. It is much to his professional credit that he was chosen a surgeon for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company in 7885, The New York, Ontario and Western Railway in 1886, and is acting in that capacity at the present time; he also held a similar position on the New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railroad from 1886 to 1889. On May 2, 1891, he was elected a member of the National Association of Railway Surgeons and on March 8, 1892, a, a member of the New York State Association of Railway Surgeons. He was physician and surgeon in charge of the Masonic Home at Utica from its opening until two years ago, when a medical staff was formed, since which time he has been chairman of the executive committee of the staff. He has also filled the posts of chief surgeon in Faxton Hospital (1880 to 1886) and surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital (1883 to 1893) and St. Elizabeth's Hospital (1888 to 1894) and is now surgeon on the staff of Faxton Hospital. He has held the rank of first lieutenant in the 44th Separate Company National Guard and assistant surgeon of that organization, and was president of the Utica Citizens Corps in 1886, 1887, and 1888. It is just to say that in all these various positions Dr. Hunt has shown his fitness and capacity for the capable discharge of their duties, and earned the respect and esteem of those with whom he has been associated. In politics Dr. Hunt is a Republican. In November, 1873, he was appointed, by Gov. John A. Dix, coroner of Oneida county to fill a vacancy and was elected to that office three consecutive terms, serving in all nearly ten years. Of June 12, 1874, he was appointed health officer of the city of Utica, in which capacity he served most efficiently for nearly twenty years. In passing the Civil Service examination for that position the Albany Evening Argus of August 18, 1885, said: "Health officer Hunt, of Utica, was one of the three highest who passed the Civil Service examination, his standing being 92 9-10 out of a possible 100. The doctor is an adept at determining knotty questions, and his brilliant record is no more than might be expected." Other newspapers, in commenting at length upon his record as a health officer, etc., said:
"As health officer he ranks among the first in the State of New York." "He has also contributed largely to the annual reports of the State Board of Health articles of great interest on public matters. Among his best efforts in this respect is his report as chairman of the Committee on Public Institutions in the first annual report of the State Board of Health of New York for the year 1880. This is a very lengthy report, and the doctor presents the results attained in one of the largest and most useful public buildings, the New York State Hospital, in a very able and scientific manner, touching upon the system of ventilation, heating, drainage, and water supply."
In the second annual report of the State Board of Health of New York, for the year 1881, as chairman of the Committee on Public Institutions, Dr. Hunt is thus spoken of in the introduction: "He presents an outline of results of personal inspection and exact inquiry into the present condition and sanitary wants of school-houses, as shall fitly serve the purposes of the board to institute and induce needed sanitary improvements in our school houses and in the schools themselves, and at the same time to suggest and stimulate local concern in this matter."
"His lectures to the school of nurses at St. Luke's Hospital, of Utica, for the past number of years have been very instructive to the nurses, and have been read by thousands of those who have made public health a study; he is known far and near throughout the United States on all questions pertaining to public health."
In 1887 Dr. Hunt was strongly urged for the mayoralty of the city of Utica, and received the unanimous nomination of the convention, but for personal reasons was compelled to decline the honor.
On the 28th of January, 1874, Dr. Hunt was married to Miss Ella R. Middleton, daughter of Robert Middleton, president and superintendent of the Globe Woolen Company of Utica. They have four children: Gergrude May, Mabel Lillian, Robert Middleton, and Ella Louisa.